EDITORIAL: Decline in hunger

There is no reason for Nepal to miss the target if all-out efforts are made in agriculture and also in their distribution

That Nepal is making gradual progress in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) is something to cheer about although it is not faring well in most other sectors. Nepal ranked 72nd in the GHI which is prepared by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute.

Nepal has outdone all the other South Asian countries. With a score of 21.9 it was ranked first followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and then Afghanistan.

However, this data was not available from 14 countries, including Bhutan. By focusing on achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 the 2016 GHI shows the multidimensional measure of, among other things, national, regional and global hunger.

However, we should not boast about this achievement, for still at least 7.8 per cent of Nepalis are undernourished as they do not possess adequate food.

The food is also found lacking in quality and quantity.

Nepal had scored 36.8 in 2002 and 29.2 in 2008 showing that Nepal has succeeded in slowing improving its score in the GHI. The latest score shows that Nepal is still in the serious zone.

According to the GHI, countries scoring less than 9.9 means low severity of hunger, 10 to 19.9 moderate level of hunger, 35 to 49.9 means alarming level and a score of more than 50 shows that there is an extremely serious hunger situation, which can be frightening.

Two measures of child hunger are taken into consideration to find out the situation of hunger in various countries. These are wasting and stunting. Wasting is all about the low weight in relation to a child’s height meaning that the child is undernourished while stunting refers to the low height of children of their age.

These are pointers that the children are suffering from chronic under-nutrition.

The situation of hunger is alarming in about 50 countries. South Asia sees a significant decline in hunger but more has to be done if we are to be able to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

Nepal is widely regarded as an agrarian country which once used to export surplus agricultural produce. But it is facing food deficit and has to import food.

The huge investments being made in this sector have brought about only a slight improvement. Therefore, agriculture should be given more importance in the scheme of things. Since the GHI score shows that Nepal is still in the serious zone there is little to be complacent about.

Buildings are being constructed in fertile land leading to less agricultural production. Light farming machines should also be brought into use to increase agricultural production.

Meanwhile, we should gear up to improve our GHI score which is possible if all concerned worked in tandem. Many youths in this country are migrating to foreign countries in search of work leading to a shortage of agricultural hand.

The youths are the mainstay of the economy of any country. The concerned should be serious about food security so that food is not lacking and people must not be made to go hungry.

Anyway, Nepal should take a cue from its rating in the GHI and strive to do even better.

There is no reason for Nepal to miss the target if all-out efforts are made in agriculture and also in their distribution.

Speed it up

Organ, particularly kidney, transplantation became possible in Nepal with the Human Organ Transplant Act-1998, and as a result a number of kidney transplants have been carried out in the Kathmandu Valley over the past few years.

And ten months ago, an amendment to this law has made such transplantation legally possible also from organs taken from brain dead people. But this provision has yet to be put into practice.

However, another provision of the amendment, that of paired kidney exchange, was started three months ago. This provision can prove helpful in some cases where the kidney of any of relatives is unsuitable for the patient.

The importance of transplantation from brain dead donors is obvious because it is very difficult to get live donors.

It is also estimated that 3,000 people die annually in Nepal from kidney failure while 1,000 brain deaths occur annually.

Not only that, from a single brain dead person, the lives of at least eight patients can be saved by utilizing their different organs – two kidneys, two lungs, one heart, one liver, one pancreas, one small intestine, apart from two corneas and skin.

Therefore, the authorities should immediately move to make all the arrangements necessary to implement this legal provision.